Do you know in which small village did your grandfather spend his childhood? Do you ever sit down with your granddaughter and tell her how was your teenage in the place where you lived? Have you ever told your son about that brother you have that moved to Argentina when he was twenty?
During my travels I’ve discovered a family component that I had undervalued before. I think that almost in all families there has been a little bit of nomadism. Maybe our relatives didn’t come from overseas but surely from another valley or another town. Often we don’t consider this when we are traveling but it’s actually interesting to relate travel with our own origins. It may end up in discovering stories, places and people we never imagined before.
So let’s sit down and take a look at our genealogical tree.. are all our relatives living close to us? If not let’s start investigating where our family has spread out. After that we can take into consideration a trip to visit relatives around the world: it may be a weekend to a place two hours away or a three weeks overseas journey. In both cases I think it’s worth spending money and time in the exploration of our origins; it’s a way to find out who our families are, that is a big puzzle of which we are a small piece.
So we may wind up in a stranger’s house who is actually related to us in terms of blood. We might find ourselves telling stories from the past, we may discover to have people and places in common and we start completing that big puzzle. In addition, those far away relatives could be helpful guides in a foreign country. A travel that is a research of our roots but, at the same time an expedition to an unknown place, accompanied by expert people who can show us the essence of that site. Not bad, isn’t it?
I had this experience in Argentina, more precisely in Cordoba. One of my grandfather’s brothers moved to Argentina some time ago. He formed a family whose members are obviously also related to me. I decided to go to Cordoba for other reasons and when I realized that a part of my family was there I was thrilled. When I arrived I had just a home address and I decided to go there. What followed was not one of those epic, mediatic reunions, yet it was strong enough to make me feel I had someone to count on in a distant country. And they have also been a local guidance that made me see and know much about this new spot.
I’m now in Cordoba, again. My Argentine family is also still here and my eighty-two years old grandmother joined us from Italy. This amazing woman took a fourteen hours flight to Argentina to be again with those nephews she saw when they were just born. Observing and being part of this reconnection was so extraordinary that I felt the need to write about it and encourage others to do the same. She had a really nice time here: everyone showed her deep affection and admiration for such an effort.
I think her example shows how it’s possible to undertake such adventures at any age. She travelled a lot in her life, but from this journey she took home not only pictures, new facts and information but also something more. When I saw her looking at her brother-in-law’s grave I knew she had reached an inestimable sense of peace.